Over 52 per cent of judges in Kyiv courts have questionable integrity – research of “CHESNO” initiative

52,5% per cent of judges in Kyiv courts have questionable integrity, according to research of the initiative “CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary”. The activists analyzed information about judges of Kyiv Economic Court, Kyiv District Administrative Court and ten district courts. “We analyzed profiles of 369 judges and found out that every second judge has questionable integrity. It means that this person violated at least one of integrity criteria declared by “CHESNO” initiative,” said Liliya Drozdyk, communication director of the campaign, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Activists evaluated every judge according to 5 integrity criteria. “This is non-involvement in corruption and criminal offences, non-involvement in questionable cases and decisions, transparency of assets and compliance between judge’s declared income and lifestyle, respect to professional ethics and non-involvement in violation of human rights,” explained Ivan Pyatak, senior analyst at the campaign “CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary”. Activists used information from open sources, information obtained through addresses to courts and journalist investigations.

According to the results, the biggest number of non-compliance with integrity criteria deal with transparency of assets and involvement in questionable cases (114 judges for each of these criteria). 60 judges violated professional ethics. 15 judges were involved in corruption and criminal offences, 11 more – in violation of human rights.

The majority of judges with questionable integrity work (over 60 per cent) work in Pechersk, Shevchenkivsky and Solomyansky District Courts. “Even now, after lustration and dismissal of judges for violation of professional oath, which took place last fall, 67 judges who rendered politically motivated sentences against Maidan activists are still in office. Moreover, almost 20 per cent of them have shown false information in their declarations of integrity, dissembling the fact that they rendered such verdicts,” Liliya Drozdyk noted.

Information, which was a basis for this research is available in the online-database of judges profiles at “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary” website. “This is the first online database, which unites all information about the acting judges – their career, assets, relationship, journalists investigation about them. According to the new law on judiciary and status of judges, which entered into effect one year ago, this database should have been launched by the High Qualification Commission of Judges. For technical reasons, it was not done, so “CHESNO” initiative is the first to launch it,” said Halyna Chyzhyk, lawyer of the campaign, co-coordinator at Public Integrity Council. Every judge’s profile consists of three blocks of information. The first is judge’s background: education, career, related documents from open sources and important additional information (involvement in notable cases, results of qualification assessments, facts of pressure on this judge because of refusal to participate in corruption, etc). The second block deals with judges assets; the third shows compliance with integrity criteria. “It is important that Ukrainian citizens can see who are those mandated by the state to solve disputes between them. Openness and availability of information about judges is the first precondition to build trust to the judicial system,”Chyzhyk added.

The online database of judges’ profiles can become a useful tool for Public Integrity Council and High Qualification Commission of Judges during the qualification assessment, which is obligatory for all acting judges. The first to pass it are judges whose 5-year term in office has expired. In Kyiv courts, they constitute 43 per cent. “We know that High Qualification Commission used our analytics during the competition to the Supreme Court, and referred to it multiple times at the interviews with the candidates. We will pass this new data to the Commission and we hope that the qualification assessment will purge Kyiv courts from judges with questionable integrity,” Liliya Drozdyk noted.